Young Trans Children Know Who They Are

From The Atlantic:  https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/01/young-trans-children-know-who-they-are/580366/

A new study shows that gender-nonconforming kids who go on to transition already have a strong sense of their true identity—one that differs from their assigned gender.


Jan 15, 2019

Since 2013, Kristina Olson, a psychologist at the University of Washington, has been running a large, long-term study to track the health and well-being of transgender children—those who identify as a different gender from the one they were assigned at birth. Since the study’s launch, Olson has also heard from the parents of gender-nonconforming kids, who consistently defy gender stereotypes but have not socially transitioned. They might include boys who like wearing dresses or girls who play with trucks, but who have not, for example, changed the pronouns they use. Those parents asked whether their children could participate in the study. Olson agreed.

After a while, she realized that she had inadvertently recruited a sizable group of 85 gender-nonconforming participants, ages 3 to 12. And as she kept in touch with the families over the years, she learned that some of those children eventually transitioned. “Enough of them were doing it that we had this unique opportunity to look back at our data to see whether the kids who went on to transition were different to those who didn’t,” Olson says.

By studying the 85 gender-nonconforming children she recruited, her team has now shown, in two separate ways, that those who go on to transition do so because they already have a strong sense of their identity.

This is a topic for which long-term data are scarce. And as transgender identities have gained more social acceptance, more parents are faced with questions about whether and how to support their young gender-nonconforming children.

“There’s a lot of public writing focused on the idea that we have no idea which of these gender-nonconforming kids will or will not eventually identify as trans,” says Olson. And if only small proportions do, as some studies have suggested, the argument goes that “they shouldn’t be transitioning.” She disputes that idea. “Our study suggests that it’s not random,” she says. “We can’t say this kid will be trans and this one won’t be, but it’s not that we have no idea!”

“This study provides further credence to guidance that practitioners and other professionals should affirm—rather than question—a child’s assertion of their gender, particularly for those who more strongly identify with their gender,” says Russell Toomey from the University of Arizona, who studies LGBTQ youth and is himself transgender.

(A brief note on terms, since there’s a lot of confusion about them: Some people think that kids who show any kind of gender nonconformity are transgender, while others equate the term with medical treatments such as hormone blockers or reassignment surgeries. Neither definition is right, and medical interventions aren’t even in the cards for young children of the age Olson studied. That’s why, in her study, she uses pronouns as the centerpiece marker of a social transition. Changing them is a significant statement of identity and is often accompanied by a change in hairstyle, clothing, and even names.)

Continue reading at:  https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/01/young-trans-children-know-who-they-are/580366/

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Young Trans Children Know Who They Are

Ilhan Omar and the Myth of Jewish Hypnosis

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/21/opinion/ilhan-omar-israel-jews.html

A conspiracy theory with ancient roots and a bloody history.

By Bari Weiss
Jan. 21, 2019

In 2012, during one of Israel’s periodic wars with Hamas in Gaza, Ilhan Omar, at the time a 32-year-old nutrition coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Education, tweeted the following: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel. #Gaza #Palestine #Israel”

The sentence has dogged Ms. Omar, a refugee from Somalia who last year became one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress and was just seated on the influential House Foreign Affairs Committee. On Thursday, CNN’s Poppy Harlow pressed her again: “I wonder just what your message is this morning as the first on our Game Changer series to Jewish-Americans who find that deeply offensive.”

“That’s a really regrettable way of expressing that,” Ms. Omar said of the anchor’s question. “I don’t know how my comments would be offensive to Jewish Americans. My comments precisely are addressing what was happening during the Gaza War and I’m clearly speaking about the way the Israeli regime was conducting itself in that war.”

Perhaps Ms. Omar is sincerely befuddled and not simply deflecting. Because sentiments like these, once beyond the pale of our public discourse, are being heard with greater frequency and volume these days, allow me to explain why this Jewish American, and almost every Jewish American I know, found her words so offensive.

The conspiracy theory of the Jew as the hypnotic conspirator, the duplicitous manipulator, the sinister puppeteer is one with ancient roots and a bloody history. In the New Testament, it is a small band of Jews who get Rome — then the greatest power in the world — to do their bidding by killing Christ. Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, speaks to the Jews about Jesus in the book of John: “Take him yourselves and judge him according to your own law.” But the Jews punt the decision back to Pilate: “We are not permitted to put anyone to death.” And so Pilate does the deed on their behalf. In the book of Matthew, the implications of this manipulation are spelled out: “His blood is on us and our children,” the Jews say — a line that has been so historically destructive that even Mel Gibson cut it from his “Passion of the Christ.”

In the two millenniums that followed, even after 1965, when the Catholic Church formally disavowed the belief that the Jews killed Jesus, this was the template for the anti-Semitic conspiracy: the ability of this tiny minority to use its wiles and its proximity to power to con others into accomplishing their evil ends. It has led to countless expulsions, murders, massacres and pogroms throughout Europe and elsewhere.

The Jewish power to hypnotize the world, as Ms. Omar put it, is the plot of Jud Süss — the most successful Nazi film ever made. In the film, produced by Joseph Goebbels himself, Josef Süss Oppenheimer, an 18th-century religious Jew, emerges from the ghetto, makes himself over as an assimilated man, and rises to become the treasurer to the Duke of Württemberg. Silly duke: Allowing a single Jew into his city leads to death and destruction.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/21/opinion/ilhan-omar-israel-jews.html

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Ilhan Omar and the Myth of Jewish Hypnosis